Formula Mole Weight Critical Pressure Critical Temperature
C2H6 30.07 707.8 psia 90.1 F


General Description:

The hydrocarbon ethane consists of two carbons and six hydrogens.  Classified as an alkane, or paraffin, hydrogen saturates the carbon atoms via covalent single bonds.  Derived from the Latin term parum affinis, meaning “little affinity” for other compounds, paraffins  are known for their stability and resistance to reactivity.  Alkanes such as ethane are nonpolar, thus insoluble in polar solvents such as water.

Alkanes may be separated into fractions via distillation.  The lowest boiling point (3-4 carbons) is used as fuel in cigarette lighters and barbecues.  Gasoline follows in the next distillation fraction (5-11 Carbons), next kerosene and jet fuel (9-16 carbons), then diesel fuel (15-25 carbons), and the highest boiling point fractionation provides lubricants and greases (26+ carbons).  The greater the branching of a hydrocarbon chain, the greater the stability of the molecule and the higher the boiling point. A colorless, odorless, nontoxic, yet flammable gas, ethane is a constituent of natural gas and petroleum (75% Methane, 25% Ethane, Propane, and Butane).  These “fossil fuels” were formed through the decomposition of organic matter over thousands of years and today provide a major energy source.  Large amounts of the element may also be located in the atmospheres of Saturn and Jupiter.

Pressure, psia 14.7 100 500
Temperature, F 60 200 300
Compressibility, (Z) 0.991 0.973 0.915
Enthalpy, Btu/lb (h)  165.1 225.1 265.2
Entropy, Btu/lb-R (s) 1.6731 1.650 1.606
Specific Heat, Btu/mol-R(Cp) 0.416 0.500 0.589
k, (Cp/Cv)  1.188 1.152 1.126
Sonic velocity, ft/sec 1005 1101 1126
Specific volume, ft3/lb 12.5 2.29 0.496
Dynamic viscosity, lb/ft-sec 6.10E-06 7.66E-06 9.60E-06



1) Gas Flex, Flexware, Inc., Grapeville, PA, USA
2) Organic Chemistry, Paula Yurkanis Bruice, University of California, Prentice Hall, NJ, 1998
3) General Chemistry, Darrell D. Ebbing, Wayne State University, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1996

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Flexware, Inc. 2005
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page updated May 21, 2005